Washington Update

Inside (the Beltway) Scoop

By: Ellen Kuo
Wednesday, July 26, 2023
Senate Appropriators Aim for Completion of Their Bills Before Recess

The Senate Appropriations Committee aims to complete all 12 of its appropriations bills this week before leaving for the August recess. Its latest full committee markup took place on July 20 for the Energy and Water Development bill, S. 2443 which passed on a vote of 29-0, with its accompanying report. The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science mark was $8.43 billion, better than the House mark of $8.1 billion. Both were lower than the president’s budget request of $8.8 billion, as well as FASEB’s request of $9.5 billion

The Senate bill’s $8.43 billion is new directed funding—$330 million over fiscal year 2023—for the Office of Science. This funding will help implement the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act of 2022. The Office of Science is the largest federal sponsor of basic research in the physical sciences and supports 22,000 researchers at 17 national laboratories and more than 300 universities. The bill continues to advance the highest priorities in materials research, high-performance computing, artificial intelligence, biology, and clean energy research to maintain and strengthen our global competitiveness.

Senate Appropriations Chair Patty Murray (D-WA), in her opening statement, said that although they were working under tough topline numbers, “…I appreciate the effort everyone on this committee is putting in to make sure we write the strongest bills possible, make full use of the resources in the debt ceiling agreement, and use the tools we have to protect critical investments.” She and Vice Chair Susan Collins (R-ME) have agreed to use additional emergency appropriations as they have done in the past, which is allowed under the debt ceiling deal to address in a bipartisan way pressing national challenges.

On July 27, Senate appropriators will also take up the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (LHHS) bill, among other spending bills, to complete consideration of all its funding bills. Meanwhile, the House Appropriations Committee has only completed subcommittee markup of its LHHS bill with no date announced for full committee consideration. In conjunction with that markup, the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research issued a statement on the $3.8 billion cut in funding for the NIH in the House bill, including cuts to NIH’s base, a failure to reverse reductions in funding from the Innovation Account in the 21st Cures Act, and a reduction in new funding for the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health.